Denver’s Sheriff Resigns Amid Mounting Criticism

Patrick Firman
David Zalubowski/AP
Patrick Firman talks during a news conference after he was introduced as the new sheriff of the Denver Sheriff’s Department Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, in Denver.

Denver Sheriff Patrick Firman is stepping down.

His tenure ends after about four years on the job. Firman faced criticism over several recent incidents and lawsuits filed against his department, including how they handled a woman who gave birth alone in a jail cell in July last year. That woman is suing, and the sheriff's department said it has changed its policy on how it treats care for pregnant prisoners in labor.

In addition, this week Denver City Council approved a $1.5 million lawsuit settlement with female deputies who alleged the department didn't protect them from sexual harassment from inmates at the county jail.

In a release late Wednesday, Firman touted his accomplishments — among them a new policy on use of force by deputies.

“When I came here four years ago, it was to take action on over 400 reform recommendations that touched nearly every aspect of the Denver Sheriff Department," Firman said. "With the help of our partners and the tireless efforts of staff, we were successful in implementing those changes."

Mayor Michael Hancock said Firman has "weathered criticism, fair and unfair."

Firman is the only unelected sheriff in Colorado. He will leave his position on October 14th.